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The European Parliament’s decision not to immediately pass the new EU Copyright Directive in July was seen by many as a major setback. It was defeated by 318 to 278, a margin of 40 votes. This means the proposed legislation now moves forward to a full plenary debate and vote next Wednesday 12 September.

As the music industry faces this pivotal moment, it is worth reflecting how we got here and what we are now facing.

The creative industries as a whole have long argued that embryonic digital legislation passed in the mid 1990s is outdated and simply not fit for purpose. The legislative process is slow at the best of times. Meanwhile, the tech industry “moved fast and broke things,” incurring the wrath of creators whose livelihoods have been upended as a result.

The publication of the draft EU Copyright Directive in late 2016 was an achievement in itself. Not only did the draft legislation address copyright protection and safe harbour loopholes, it also contained provisions concerning fairness and transparency towards creators. Following further debate and lobbying, is even more of an achievement that the key elements of the draft directive remain mostly intact.

The Directive has not been without it’s critics, as is the case with any proposed legislation. Academics, libraries and dignitaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee have all put forth concerns. We in the music industry can acknowledge some concerns as understandable even if we believe they are unfounded.

What is not understandable are the thoroughly vile and dishonest tactics deployed during the course of this year, whose objective is to stop the legislation in its tracks at any cost. The scale of this activity reads like set pieces straight out of the Cambridge Analytica playbook.

Some in the music industry have questioned how we fight back given the vast funding involved and the sheer scale of this enterprise. But fight back we must and the actions of those we face only serve to give us greater strength.

As any Jiu-Jitsu grandmaster will tell you: use your opponents’ force against them. In this case, we should call out the deceitful actions from within the tech sector and elsewhere and those actions speak louder than any words.

  • The Financial Times reported some MEPs received death threats

  • MEPs were each bombarded with over 60,000 emails from bots

  • These emails contained identical content according to The Trichordist

  • The same blog named the domain name from which a large number of these emails originated and its link to a US Inc. entity.

  • The same tactics have been found on Twitter: multiple bot accounts promoting #SaveOurInternet and similar hashtags

  • This contrasts to real world protests that only drew a few hundred protestors combined across Europe. The bots did not show up.

 

These actions must also be viewed against the current backdrop where tech firms have been scrutinised for avoiding responsibility concerning:

  • Blatantly dishonest content

  • Content that incites hatred and violence

  • Little accountability in how such content is disseminated

  • Minimal transparency in how user data is abused in facilitating all this

Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are amongst those tech executives rebuked by lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, for failing to take responsibility and failing to act in managing their own platforms. This is reflective of a broader failure that lies at the heart of a misguided and libertarian ideal, that somehow tech firms are exempt from laws and rules that govern the rest of the world.

The music industry and broader creative and media industries are made up of real people, filled with passion and blood pumping through their veins. They compose their own emails, speak to politicians and show up in person.

At the UK Music organized #LoveMusic busking event in London earlier today, artists, executives and even politicians turned out in support. Artists such as Brett Anderson, Ed Harcourt, Dave Rowntree, Madeleina Kay, Newton Faulkner and BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt. In addition a number of cross party British MPs who support the directive including Tom Watson, Nigel Evans and Kevin Brennan were amongst those in attendance.

One has to ask, if those opposing the EU Copyright Directive have such a compelling argument, why do they resort to such deceitful means? If we judge their actions, the arguments of those opposed to the directive hold no legitimacy and the European Parliament should vote in favour of the directive.

Andy Edwards, music manager and consultant
@andyedwardsbiz

12 Dec 2019 | Press release

BBC Music Sound of 2020 longlist revealed

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12 Dec 2019 | Press release

Sony Music UK gears up for 2020 expansion with new VP of Podcasting & Creative Strategy

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12 Dec 2019 | Press release

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12 Dec 2019 | Press release

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

NME Awards Are Back in 2020

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Hipgnosis Songs Fund - Jeff Bhasker

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Hipgnosis Songs Fund - Interim Results

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Deezer opens a Portal to your music and shows

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Soundcharts predicts Hip-Hop, Grime and R&B artists to break in 2020 - by analysing 15 major sources including Spotify, YouTube, Deezer, Apple Music and many more

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Remote Control’s Dot Dash Label Inks UK & Europe Deal with Proper Music Group

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

UK Music Chairman and founder Andy Heath to step down after 11 years at the top

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Better Noise & FUGA: The Perfect Global Indie Match

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Clare McConnell joins WMG as Senior Privacy Counsel

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Alice Webb appointed Chief Executive Officer of Eagle Rock Entertainment

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11 Dec 2019 | Press release

Reservoir signs Grammy-nominated writer-producer Sam Sumser to a worldwide publishing deal

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10 Dec 2019 | Press release

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10 Dec 2019 | Press release

BDi Music signs Marina Elderton in exclusive deal

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10 Dec 2019 | Press release

Hipgnosis acquires Kaiser Chiefs catalogue

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10 Dec 2019 | Press release

Dirty Hit Records Signs Global Distribution Deal with Ingrooves

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10 Dec 2019 | Press release

Warner Music Group and Providence Equity Partners join forces to invest in music catalogs

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10 Dec 2019 | Press release

Kobalt Signs Publishing Deal With 88Rising

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10 Dec 2019 | Press release

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09 Dec 2019 | Press release

Tony Harlow to become Chairman & CEO, Warner Music UK

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09 Dec 2019 | Press release

KT Tunstall & pals cover Lennon for charity single

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09 Dec 2019 | Press release

Sentric launches fund for emerging artists

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09 Dec 2019 | Press release

Max Richter signs new global deal with Universal Music Group

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09 Dec 2019 | Press release

Electronic Sound Summit 2020 announces first wave of acts

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09 Dec 2019 | Press release

Boomplay and Merlin bring the world’s best independent music to Africa

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08 Dec 2019 | Press release

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher to step down

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06 Dec 2019 | Press release

AirAsia Group and Universal Music Group Launch RedRecords

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12 Dec 2019

  •  UK Music Chairman Andy Heath to step down (see News)

  •  BBC Music Sound of 2020 longlist announced (see News)

11 Dec 2019

  • Hipgnosis Songs Fund announces Interim Results; signs Jeff Bhasker (see Business, Deals)

  • Warner Music Group and Providence plan to invest in catalogues via new platform (see Business)

10 Dec 2019

  • Tony Harlow named Chairman & CEO of Warner Music UK (see Business)

  • Merlin to move HQ to Dublin; will 'apply a small margin' to future earnings (see Business)

  • Hipgnosis Songs Fund acquires Kaiser Chiefs' master rights catalogue (see Deals)

09 Dec 2019

  • UK Music CEO Michael Dugher to step down (see Business)

  • Rapper Juice WRLD dies at 21 (see News, Features)

06 Dec 2019

  • Celeste named winner of BRITs Rising Star award (see News)

05 Dec 2019

  • Apple to embrace concert video, starts with Billie Eilish show, who also makes Apple TV+ documentary (see Digital)

  • Spotify 2019 Wrapped launched (see Digital)

04 Dec 2019

  • GEMA buys majority stake in Zebralution (see Business)

  • Lyrics site Genius sues Google and LyricFind over alleged misappropriation of transcriptions (see News)

  • Spotify launches advertising tool Marquee (see Digital)

03 Dec 2019

  • Hipgnosis signs Fraser T Smith (see Deals)

  • Spotify, Deezer announce end of year lists; Apple Music honours artists (see Digital)

  • Human Re Sources expands to the UK (see Business)

  • Celeste named BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year 2019 (see Media)

02 Dec 2019

  • FanFair Alliance warns CMA Viagogo's takeover of StubHub would give it a monopoly (see News)

  • Mixcloud suffers data breach (see Digital)

29 Nov 2019

  • Massive Attack and climate scientists to create eco-friendly touring blueprint (see News) 

  • Music Declares Emergency wins IMPALA Outstanding Contribution Award. (see News)